tv China International News PBS November 27, 2010 6:00pm-6:30pm PST
♪ (female #1) we're traveling acrosshe country for six weeks. ale #1) nding stories of ople who are living life by doing what they love. (female #2) and see what kind of roads they took in their life. (male #1) i'm on this trip to carve out my own focus. (female #2) i have a lot of interests, but i'm scared to put myself out there. (female #1) my family is more into a job that's stable, and i really want to be an artist. you've got to put yourself in those sink or swim situations... you really do. make things tough on yourself so that you're stronger. (female announcer) state farm has made it possible for this documentary series to be shared on public television stations across the country. roadtrip nation would like to sincerely thank our friends at state farm for helping a nation of young people define their own roads in life. like a good neighbor, state farm is there. (male announcer) roadtrip nation would also like to thank the college board for supporting this series.
the college board: connect to college success. (male announcer) roadtrip nation is also made possible by at&t: helping connect students to success in school, in the workforce, and in life. (female narrator) everywhere you turn, people try to tell you who to be and what to do. but what about deciding for yourself? roadtrip nation is a movement that empowers people to define their own roads in life. this past summer, teams of roadtrippers crossed the country, hoping to gain insight into their lives. on the road, they met all kinds of interesting people to learn how they found their way. this is roadtrip nation. [dialing phone]
[phone rings] oh hi...hi, my name is tina yonas. my name is vanessa cunto. hi, um, my name is calvin and i'm with roadtrip nation. i'm going to be traveling the u.s. with two other girls and... (tina) i'm about to graduate college and i don't know what to do with my life. we're traveling from the west coast to the east coast, finding stories of people who are living life by doing what they love. and see what kind of roads they took in their life. and we're really interested in hearing your story. ♪ banjo music i'm in team "tabula rasa", which means blank slate. the team consists of myself, calvin, and tina. (calvin) trying to organize our trip and getting our interviews together, we've had to talk a lot on the phone. (vanessa) like, i need to talk to calvin about this
or tina about that, but having never met them. (vanessa) this is basically the month of july, starting off in l.a. oh, actually, tina's on. let's see if tina will talk to us. (vanessa) hi! (tina) hello! (tina) can you hear me? (vanessa) i can hear you. (tina) okay, cool! nice to meet you for the first time! (vanessa) yeah, same here! (tina) this whole process-- booking the interviews and getting ready for the road trip has been really intense. it's a lot harder than i thought it would be. (woman on phone) please hold. you will experience silence while waiting. (calvin) so this is my first cold call. do i know what i'm gonna say? [phone connection lost] oh...oh! [practicing] hi...hello. (vanessa) hi, may i please speak with dave? there's no dave? this is like the tenth time i've called. (woman on phone) so you want to come to portland to spend time with this person that you don't know who he is,
or how to get a hold of him? (calvin) no, i know exactly who he is. his name is gus van sant. (calvin) i don't exactly know what i was thinking. well, i know exactly what i was thinking. i was expecting this to be a little bit easier. yes, may i please be connected with gabby marterman? [surprised] oh my god, "sure"? that was so easy. (woman on phone) white house comment line. how may i help you? i was curious if there's any way i could get a hold of michelle obama? vanessa, tina, and i look forward to seeing you on the 30th. [excited] whoooo! ahhhhh! that is what it feels like when you book an interview! [sighing contentedly] my name is calvin stalvig and i'm 22 years old. i'm from superior, wisconsin. my mom's a single mom and i was the first child, the first of four. as soon as i was 12 i was babysitting.
like, i was raising three children by myself. all i wanted was to be normal. i didn't want to say, "i have to babysit my brothers and sisters 'cause my mom works nights and 'cause we're broke." i never wanna be an outsider or challenge anything because it's just really safe being a part of everything else. i mean, i'm a black kid in a school of only white kids. and i'm poor, and all of my friends have money. i just wanted to be normal, so i made myself normal i guess. i'm the first person to graduate from college. you know, i'm proud of you. i'm so proud. (calvin's mom) this is the happiest day of my life. (announcer) calvin stalvig [audience cheering] (calvin) i guess i didn't really realize how important it was, for my family, to graduate.
saying "i don't know" is one of the scariest things for me. i'm never going to figure out who i am i'll die still wondering who i am. but this trip is a way for me to consider who i am. ♪ (vanessa) to know that we were all going to experience this really great thing together, and start that journey by meeting each other, was a really nice thing to look forward to. (tina) [excited] oh my god, vanessa! how are you? (vanessa) i'm good! [laughter] (calvin) man...so it begins, finally! (tina) i know, i know! oh my god! there it is! [excited] aaahhh!! [laughter] (tina) [laughs] are you serious?
(vanessa) oh my gosh, i'm so excited! [excited] oh. oh my god. (tina) just looking up on the ceiling and seeing all the different signatures, and words of advice, i couldn't help but think and wonder what's ahead of me. my name is tehetena yonas, also known as tina yonas. i am a student at the university of california, riverside, and i started working-- doing radio shows, that sort of thing. my parents have always told me i'm an idealist, and i just think it's because i'm doing things that are counter-convention. the things that are the most representative of me are the craziest things i own. like, these boots represent me really well, which also goes with the jacket. i want to talk to people who are doing jobs that my parents would think are just lucky. i really want to go see for myself.
(tina) i'm excited to drive the rv. i just finally got my license. driving in the rv is fantastic if you're not driving. (vanessa) ugh, i'm scared. (calvin) wait, watch out. [scared] ahhh. sorry! (tina) this is like a moving theater. i don't feel like this is real, i feel like i'm in a premium arcade. i feel okay. i don't really feel good about anything right now. okay. is that right? no! [rv scraping against curb] [laughs] oh, sorry! (tina) i cut too far in, so i crashed into the sidewalk and i bent the hubcap. it was one of the worst sounds. it was really stressful and way harder than i thought it was gonna be. [laughs] i don't even know what i'm going to do when there's cars... and people... and buildings. [laughter] my name is vanessa cunto. i'm a little over a year out of college.
my parents were encouraging of me being creative, so i went to college for painting. there was really never any discussion about what you could do after college, and take your degree that you just earned and kind of put that to use i guess. i had this idea in my head that it would be such a failure to move back home. that was hard to deal with-- i was kind of that person i guess. (vanessa's mom) i think different people take different time. i just hope that, as long as she's happy, i hope she continues doing her art. and if it takes many years, then that's fine. we'll be here to help her until then. i think that she needs to explore, expand, and reach out for who, really, she wants to be. (calvin) i just suddenly realized
that tomorrow starts. we start in anaheim and then from there it's nonstop across the country, however many miles that is. (vanessa) 5,600. (tina) 5,600 miles! ♪ (vanessa) our first interview is with christian jacobs of yo gabba gabba. christian jacobs: he produces this kids' television show. trying to explain yo gabba gabba to somebody-- it's difficult. you sound a little crazy. ♪ (calvin) if christian asks me to dance on the yo gabba gabba show...i'm going to do it. even if he doesn't ask me, i think i'll do a wiggle. so you should look out for that.
(tina) i'm feeling good. i'm excited. (calvin) i'm feeling nervous. (tina) oh my gosh! (calvin) ooh! ♪ toy guitar music hi guys, i'm christian. how are you? (tina) hello, i'm tina. nice to meet you. tina, nice to meet you. i'm vanessa, nice to meet you. ♪ my name's vanessa, i'm from florida. i have a couple different interests. for the past two months i've been working at a production company. i was just wondering how you started out in production? [whistles] that's a good question. someone told my parents, "your daughter and son are so cute. you should put them in the movies." my parents were naive enough to go,
"okay, let's go for it!" i grew up doing commercials and things in the industry, but in front of the camera as a child actor. like, rice krispies or whatever, you know? i couldn't focus on the things normal kids do because i literally was going on auditions every day as a kid. so toys became my... i don't want to say salvation, but i was so stoked on toys because these were my things i could play with in the car, or when i'd get home. pulling out my robots and shooting missiles at a wall really helped my imagination grow. so this is the toy collection inspiration room. (tina) it's amazing. (christian) i've been collecting stuff for a long time and my wife was like, "that's not going in our house." [laughter] (christian) one of the things that inspire us here is things that stimulate your imagination. (christian) i think i had a good foothold on how production works,
but once you become an adult that's all out the window. the competition was really fierce, but it was also, i didn't... no offense to anyone that likes 90210, but i just didn't really feel like being a part of that kind of fake world. i was into music and skateboarding. i got into a band and i just kind of left the business. (tina) did you have hesitations going into music? or was it like, "i'm just going to jump in?" yeah, definitely, because... i'm such a huge fan of music, when i first began writing songs it was stuff that meant a lot to me. and then i played a couple of coffee shops, and people were talking, and i'm playing this song about my heart's broken. [laughter] i was like, "this is terrible. i've gotta rethink this." it was hard for me to put my whole soul out there in music, so i changed from this kind of introspective balladeer to...
i put on a superhero costume and we'd go out there and fight monsters on-stage. it became like a toy, a cartoon. kind of sarcastic. there are personal things in there a bit, but it's so much easier to get them out there in that way for me, because i'm not afraid. i put on a costume and a mask, and people say, "you look stupid!" but i know! i know i look stupid. i'm winning! i win! do you know what i'm saying? i created this. i'd draw a mustache on myself and i'd black out one of my teeth, 'cause one time i went into a club and i saw that someone had done that on our poster. had done a mustache and a tooth. and so from that night on i started doing it, because the kids at that club would see that and say, "oh, he looks just like the poster." i thought about it and i was like, "preemptively i'm gonna strike! i'm striking first so i can't lose!" which sounds kind of backwards-thinking,
but it was very positive in the long-run because it unlocked that kind of fearlessness. like, i can do this. i'm not afraid. this is the magic mustache... magic mustache... and i think that led to us not being afraid to do yo gabba gabba. just do it ourselves. like, we don't need someone to pay for this, we can pay for it ourselves; we can do it. and that's a whole other story in itself. you can tell it. [laughter] i'd been in the band, the aquabats, and we had a few record deals. we'd been touring the country, and we had a deal with a network to do a television show based on the aquabats. it got really tough because when you're at a network they have their objectives and you have your creative objective, and sometimes they don't meet. long story short: we had an idea and we knew that just going to a network with it--
we were going to end up in development again. so we were like, "that's it, we're doing it ourselves." we took out loans on our houses and we just got the financing together with some other friends as well. we shot a little pilot and we sent it out to networks, and no one responded. we were just naive about it. like, "let's put it on the internet!" so we put a trailer on the internet and sure enough, on our website, we had like two million hits in a week. it shut down our server, and people were going crazy and passing it all around, like, "what is this crazy thing, yo gabba gabba?" that's when the networks started calling and saying, "someone sent me this and i see you have two million hits." and we were like, "yes! this is working for us! this is crazy." so we met with a few people, a few networks, and nickelodeon seemed like they got it. that's when it all began, and we began making the show.
(calvin) going back to that time where you had to take out loans. what was the dialogue like with your wife and with your friends, but especially with your wife? well i was working at a clothing company, and right around the same time we started really-- 'cause we'd had this idea for a while, yo gabba, and it was just having the guts to go for it. we were getting older and i'd just had my third child. not me, but my wife had just had our third child. and thing were getting-- we just could feel like things were closing in on us. while you're young you can take chances, but once you start having kids, and you need to have a steady income, it's hard. it was tough, and talking to my wife about quitting my job and going for it...i think that's a testament to my wife. she's amazing, and she's very patient. i was scared...but we knew we had to just put it all in.
this is it, you know? all or nothing. yeah, i'm definitely missing that motivation in my life where i don't have a choice. let me see how i can phrase this. when i graduated college i moved back in with my parents and there's nothing motivating me to get out, sometimes it's like, "okay, i don't want to live with my parents anymore", but it isn't like i have to move out or take care of someone else. i have to get out when i make the decision. and it's like, "but i'm scared, so let me just stay here." (christian) well, you bring up a good point. you gotta put yourself in those sink or swim situations. you really do. that's what our culture is losing. we're losing the, like, "make things tough on yourself so that you're stronger." we're getting to the, like, "oh, that's too hard", or "convenience is the way to go."
you know? no way, make it hard. work at a production company and learn the ropes, but be ambitious. don't just go home and watch lost after you're done. stay up late and write a script. sink or swim! it really wasn't until we had to do this or it was never going to happen, then we finally did. so if you're in that situation now where you're at home or you're just kind of floating and you're not really sinking or swimming, i would jump into the frying pan. just say, "i'm going to move out. i don't know how, but i'm going to do it." 'cause that will motivate you to get it done. when you have to do it, you'll do it. so that's a good point. you might want to move out of your house. [laughter] (christian) and then you can play, you know? we spend an incredible amount of time playing around. but that's the goal, that was the goal.
(christian) you can see we spend a lot of time doing stuff that's important here at work. it was like, "what do you want to do?" i just want to do whatever i want to... everything, anything, everything...play. just play all day with my toys, you know? that was the goal, and so i worked really hard crawling through the mud to get to the play zone. [laughs] you know? (christian) there's three of you guys and there's three robots. that'll work. okay, here, stand in the middle. (christian) ♪ beatboxing (christian) ♪ roadtrip nation in the house ♪ ♪ roadtrip nation in the house ♪ (christian) you guys can do that; just feel the beat guys. feel it. (christian) whether you're working with a charity or this and that, i think that all of us, humans on the earth, have a responsibility
to share and to give back. like, let's help each other win. that's why when vanessa called and said, "i want to do this", it was like "yes, of course!" i wanna preach it from the mountain tops: just give back. let's give it to the kids. let's help each other out. so any dumb advice i can give you guys... if anything it's like a pep talk. like...just go out there and give it all you've got. i mean, literally give it all you've got. (christian) give 'em the best gifts. (calvin) your ideas can be so crazy, and they can go places. and it just allowed me to feel like, you can be crazy too. like, you have some outlandish ideas and you can go places with them. (vanessa) it was great! i was, like, freaking out the whole time. really? oh my gosh. just because...everything he was saying. in my mind i was like, "yeah."
(vanessa) i have ideas of what i want in my life, but there can be an event that changes it. no one ever knows what's coming up ahead, and it could change everything. it could be better than you even expected it. it makes it really exciting to pursue anything, and whatever comes, just embrace it. (vanessa) i know there's going to be hard parts of this trip, as great as it's going to be, and i'm excited that i have to work through them. ♪ (tina) tracing the map of where me, calvin, and vanessa will be going in the next six weeks is really exciting. i'm really excited about vancouver, and i'm really excited about jackson, wyoming. i cannot wait to be in philadelphia. i've never even thought of what the south could be. (calvin) doing anything with intention, suddenly you realize the significance with everything you're doing. so traveling with intention
and meeting people and realizing that i'm looking for something deeper in me... i'm pretty excited. ♪ (female announcer) roadtrip nation extends beyond the program you just watched. it's a movement that includes students creating their own roadtrip experiences. here's a snapshot of the movement in the classroom. tomorrow me and my team are going to the state capitol to interview superintendent o'connell. i'm excited and nervous at the same time. (amanda) we don't know what we want to do with our life. we have pressure to know what we want to be right now. but at the same time i don't think most of us know. (amanda) well, when we interview jack o'connell, the questions we'll ask him is how did he get to where he is right now, if it was really his passion. our teacher, mr. pesci, is driving us, so hopefully it goes well.
cross our fingers. [laughter] (amanda) we're wondering if you have any advice for us while we're deciding what to do with the rest of our lives? i think the majority of students come to a crossroads in terms of what to do. find something you're interested in, something where you can make a difference, and then be the very best that you can possibly be. and then work hard. there is no substitute for hard work, no substitute for preparation. thank you, sir. i was really nervous, and then we sat down and he was so nice and welcoming. it wasn't like an interview. it was like a conversation. one thing i really liked about what he said is there's no shortcut to success. i think that's likely true. that's probably going to stick with me forever. (calvin) tina, vanessa and i, we're gonna be traveling up the west coast. (aleks) i was so happy with what i was doing, i didn't have time to be miserable
on the street. i had purpose. (jay) even though i got a c in my high school architecture class, through the passion, not through the tal, i came to design hos that actually worke. (lori) my favorite phrase when i was your age and for the next twenty years was: "all i have to dos redefine succes" (female announcer) to watch more interviews from the road and listen to the music that keeps us driving, visit www.roadtripnation.com. online you can learn more about the movement and how to bring the experience into your classroom. ♪ ♪
(female announcer) state farm has made it possible for this documentary series to be shared on public television stations across the country. roadtrip nation would like to sincerely thank our friends at state farm for helping a nation of young people define their own roads in life. like a good neighbor, state farm is there. (male announcer) roadtrip nation would also like to thank the college board for supporting this series. the college board: connect to college success. (male announcer) roadtrip nation is also made possible by at&t: helping connect students to success in school, in the workforce, and in life.